FOGGY NOTIONS

fog-2fog-1Fog and glass-smooth water combined to produce some eerie visual effects at the Marine Park boat basin on the Navesink in Red Bank Thursday morning.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for a cloudy day but a sunny Veteran’s Day weekend. (Click to enlarge)

ALLEGED BON JOVI BURGLAR BUSTED AGAIN

nick-tracy1A former Red Bank man already facing charges for allegedly breaking into Bon Jovi’s mansion and other Navesink homes was arrested again Wednesday in Ocean County for a home burglary, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The newspaper reports that Nick Tracy, right, 21, of Beachwood was arrested after a brief chase following a daylight burglary of a Toms River home.

redbankgreen readers may recall Tracy as the guy who drove around Red Bank with a large bust of Napoleon Bonaparte seat-belted into the passenger seat of his car last March, shortly before his bust in the Middletown case.

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A QUICK DIP, OR TWO

The bike and run portions were canceled because of a road washout in Tropical Storm Irene, but that didn’t keep several dozen registrants for the Red Bank Triathlon from the  swim leg of the race on Saturday.

Some competitors did one 1.2-mile loop, while others, hungering for more of a challenge, dove back in for a second go-round in our beautiful Navesink River.

redbankgreen was at Marine Park to catch the action.

HAMPTON INN HEARING POSTPONED AGAIN

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic rightThe Red Bank Planning Board put off testimony on a proposed six-story, 72-room hotel at the foot of Cooper Bridge for the third consecutive time Monday night.

But the not before the developer’s attorney raised a question about whether the plan’s foremost objector might have an ulterior motive for opposing the plan.

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CLUB SCRUBS DOWN AFTER INFECTIONS

nrr-oars1Rowers cleaning oars after an event in 2010. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s Navesink River Rowing club closed for a one-day scrubdown Sunday after officials learned that two young members were diagnosed with a common, antibiotic-resistant infection.

Though there was no evidence the infections were picked up at the club, officers opted to briefly halt rowing activities to disinfect all oars and other equipment as a precaution, operations manager Susan Meltsner tells redbankgreen.

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RUMSON TO REPLACE RIVERFRONT HOUSE

victory-park-house-092511A derelict house next door to Victory Park will be razed and replaced with a boathouse for RFH Rowing, the mayor says. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rumson officials expect this week to advance a plan to demolish a vacant riverfront home the town bought for $875,000 three years ago.

In its place, says Mayor John Ekdahl, will likely rise a new structure expected to serve as home to the borough’s nascent rowing program.

What the new facility will look like – and how much it will cost – remain to be determined, Ekdahl tells redbankgreen. But the bill, which could easily approach $1 million, will be be borne by donors, not taxpayers, he said.

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GIVING IT THE OLD COLLEGE TRY, AGAIN

regatta2Race organizers are hoping for better conditions than last year, when several boats were swamped, leading to a cancellation. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Give the Rumson rowing community credit: they keep putting their oars in the water.

Two years ago, they came tantalizingly close to landing one of collegiate rowing’s biggest events, the Dad Vail Regatta, but had their hearts broken when the event’s organizers decided to keep it where it had always been, in Philadelphia.

Then, a scaled-down collegiate regatta a year ago was scrapped during the second race, when wind-driven waves swamped several boats in the Navesink River, just off Victory Park.

But they’re back.

On Saturday, the 2011 Rumson Boat Race will take to the Navesink for four races on the Middletown side of the river, from the vicinity of a buoy opposite Bon Jovi’s mansion east toward the Oceanic Bridge.

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RIVER RAINBOW

rainbow-091511A stunning sunset Thursday night was accompanied by a breathtaking double rainbow, as captured in a view east along the Navesink River by a resident of Riverview Towers in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

TOWN WILL PURSUE SPRAYGROUND FUNDS

kramer-ballardLocust Avenue resident Leigh Kremer addresses the council as borough Engineer Christine Ballard listens. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Over the concerns of environmentalists, Red Bank will pursue grant funding for a ‘sprayground‘ in a riverside marsh that could end up costing $500,000.

A vote by the borough council Wednesday night to authorize a bid for a Monmouth County Open Spaces grant of $250,000, which the town would have to match, followed heartfelt appeals by West Side parents for a place for children to play and by others concerned about illicit activity in the overgrown Bellhaven Nature Area, at the western end of Locust Avenue.

“Our children on the West Side have nowhere to go,” River Street’s Rose Sestito, a mother of five and foster mother of three, told the governing body during a public hearing on the grant question. “Please consider the children.”

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RED BANK ‘SPRAYGROUND’ PLAN UNDER FIRE

bellhavenA proposal for a water-shooting playground at Red Bank’s little-used Bellhaven Nature Area has raised hackles among environmentalists. (Click to enlarge)

swimming-riverBy JOHN T. WARD

Wednesday night’s meeting of the Red Bank Council could be a water-balloon fight of sorts.

Members of the Environmental Commission, an advisory group, say they were alarmed to learn recently that the borough Parks & Rec department is considering Bellhaven Nature Area, a wetland preserve created just eight years ago, as a possible location for a ‘sprayground,’ a play area that enables kids to get deliriously soaked by nozzles built into fixed apparatus.

Lou DiMento – the lone remaining commission member who was involved in the original preservation effort –  and others say they were shocked to learn that the town might pursue a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, which it would have to match, in order to build the sprayground.

“That stunned us,” especially after the borough government told the commission that it couldn’t come up with a few hundred dollars for a sign to designate the nature area, nestled against the Swimming River at the western end of Locust Avenue, DiMento said.

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LIGHTNING HIT REPORTED AT HALL MANSION

hall-rumsonRumson firefighters prepare for the trip down the long driveway at Long Point, the home of financier/horseman George Hall, after a report of a lightning strike around 5:20 p.m. Monday. Responders said there were no known injuries or structural damage to the 18,000-square-foot main residence, but they were still checking. “It’s a big house, with a lot of lightning rods,” said one fireman. (Click to enlarge)

RUMSON ESTATE GOES TO DERBY HORSEMAN

dawkins-estate3The Dawkins estate in Rumson as seen from the Navesink in 2008. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In a record-setting deal for Rumson, a Wall Street hedge-fund tycoon and headline-grabbing horse owner has purchased Pete Dawkins‘ mega-estate on the Navesink.

The sprawling West River Road gem known as Long Point went for $12 million to an entity controlled by George Hall, a financier who’s become a familiar railbird at big-stakes racing events.

Though Hall was widely rumored to be the buyer, official confirmation was unavailable until late last week, when a deed filed with the Monmouth County Clerk’s office was posted on that agency’s online database. It includes a document signed by Hall as the corporate officer of the named buyer, 80 West River Road LLC. Hall’s office in New York is given as the return address for 80 West River Road LLC in related documents.

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DRUNK DRIVING RAMPANT IN MIDDLETOWN

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

mtown-police-carThe recurring — and alarming — theme for Middletown’s police officers this week was dealing with alleged drunks crashing into things.

There were five reported car accidents in which the drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated, said Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger in his regular roundup of crime activity. One driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit a parked car, two crashed into utility poles, another man went through a road barrier and another ended up on the side of the road after crashing his vehicle, Dollinger said.

That’s not counting the two incidents of wrong-way drivers.

More reports from MTPD are unedited below.

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COPS: BODY FOUND, BOAT DRIVER WAS DRUNK

northoverThe command center in front of the mansion at 36 Northover Place in Middletown, where the victims of the boating accident came ashore, as seen at about 5 a.m. Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

An Atlantic Highlands man was charged with drunk driving in the Navesink River accident that killed the lone passenger of the boat he was operating and sent all five occupants of a second boat into the water Saturday night, State Police said Sunday morning.

The body of the victim, which had been missing after the 11:30 p.m. crash, was recovered from the river almost nine hours later, after being spotted by a State Police helicopter between Middletown and Fair Haven, said Sergeant Brian Polite.

An eyewitness gave redbankgreen a different account of the body’s recovery.

The name of the victim has not been released pending notification of next of kin, he said. [Update, 2:50 p.m.: NJ.com reports the victim was Christopher Plant, 50, from Keansburg.]

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WHAT HEAT?

rumson-boatersIt sure didn’t feel like 97 degrees to the Cavalieri family today. The Staten Islanders, who have a vacation home in the Navesink section of Middletown, launched from Rumson and spent most of the day out on the Navesink River catching every breeze they could, along with seven dozen crabs. “It’s not bad out there,” said Anthony Cavalieri, right. “There’s a nice breeze.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

SKIES CLEAR AND LIGHT UP OVER THE RIVER

Thunderstorms and rain made the Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink an iffy proposition all day Sunday. But by sunset, the skies had cleared for another terrific pyrotechnics display over our beautiful river.

Pix were taken Saturday and Sunday in Red Bank. To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit the escape key.

And be sure to check out all our photo albums at Flickr.

RUMSON, IN A FLASH AND RUMBLE

Shots of Rumson’s 2011 edition of the Independence Day Fireworks, as seen from Victory Park, the Oceanic Bridge and surrounding areas.

As is the custom, the show, by Garden State Fireworks, was synched up with, and identical to (except in the size of the shells) the show upriver, between Red Bank and Middletown.

Photos by Dustin Racioppi. To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit the escape key.

And be sure to check out all our photo albums at Flickr.

ATRIUM ADDITION HITS GROUND RUNNING

atrium-lotA makeover of the vacant lot in the foreground is slated to begin shortly after the start of construction of six-story structure between the two Riverside Avenue high-rises in the distance. (Click to enlarge)

[See corrections at the bottom of this article]

Construction of an addition to the upscale Atrium at Navesink Harbor senior-citizens residence in Red Bank is expected to start next week with nearly all 60 units spoken for, according to officials at Springpoint Senior Living.

Long before the build-out is complete, however, an eyesore lot at the fork of West Front Street and Riverside Avenue will be transformed into a green-trimmed parking area for use by Atrium residents – and attended by valets, says company chief financial administrative officer Chuck Mooney.

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CHURNING ITALIAN ON BROAD AND WEST SIDE

racioppisAfter 15 years in Red Bank, Racioppi’s Kitchen locked its doors Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The last two years were tough for Joe Racioppi (no relation to this reporter). The last six to eight months in particular, he said, became impossible to weather. rcsm2_0105081

“It got to the point where I just couldn’t make the payments at home,” said Racioppi, who lives in the Navesink section of Middletown. “So it was at the point where I either found another job or got kicked out of my house.”

He chose the former, and on Sunday, months before the 16th anniversary of Racioppi’s Kitchen, Racioppi turned off the lights and locked the doors of his Italian deli and restaurant for the last time.

“It sucks,” he said. “It’s kind of depressing, but on the other hand, it’s kind of relieving.”

Racioppi’s is just one of a handful of businesses making an exit from Red Bank in recent weeks.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW: MAY 15-20, 2011

chopper1A helicopter search Thursday was part of an investigation into the whereabouts of missing Red Bank woman. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Busy last week prepping for the rapture?

Whatever you missed is all here, below, waiting for you.

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REGATTA OPENS SAILING SEASON

The Monmouth Boat Club opened its 2011 season last weekend by hosting the the 50th Annual Long John Regatta for Lightning Class sailboats.

redbankgreen lensman Peter Lindner was out on our beautiful Navesink River on Saturday to capture the color and excitement.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

POPPING OFF AT MAPLE COVE

Red Bank’s KaBoomFest kicked off its 2011 fundraising season Thursday night with a tent party on the lawn of Hovnanian Enterprises’ HQ, followed by a sample pyrotechnics show on the Navesink by Garden State Fireworks, which will once again be handling the big show on July 3.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.